Javier, Pinto carry Blackwater to best franchise start
It was unusual watching Blackwater keeping itself from unraveling in the stretch, rising to the challenge by knocking big shot after big shot. Even more unusual? The guys hitting those shots.
Chris Javier had two big buckets in the clutch while John Pinto knocked down the separation triple and Blackwater found itself in a strange spot after a 113-111 victory over NorthPort Tuesday night: On top of the PBA Governors’ Cup standings.
Javier stole a basket off a quick inbounds play and then buried a jumper from top of the key to give the Elite a 108-101 lead with 1:47 to play.
Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony had baskets each that quickly trimmed the gap to three before Pinto detonated a timely triple to provide Blackwater with a 111-105 cushion. 31 seconds remaining.
“It’s a test of character for our players,” said Blackwater coach Bong Ramos. “They really wanted to get this win.”
Who wouldn’t? The win kept the Elite spotless at 3-0 for their finest franchise start. And it gave them an early headstart in a tournament where a single loss can deal a team’s playoff hopes a brutal beating.
And that puts NorthPort in a really sore spot.
Needing a victory to halt a four-game slide, the Batang Pier zoomed to several huge leads in the first half, and had the Elite still pinned to the corner, 79-87, entering the final period.
But Blackwater kept gnawing at the lead until it finally gained control in the stretch, leaning on import Henry Walker and Mike DiGregorio to give the Elite a 104-99 lead.
Walker had 24 points and 15 rebounds while the sharp-shooting DiGregorio knocked in 19 as the two anchored a searing fight-back by Blackwater in the fourth quarter. National team standout Poy Erram added 19 points and seven rebounds.
Pinto only had eight points but notched a career-best 13 assists.
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